New Music | Nievergelt

The Jewels began as an ongoing late-night conversation: while on the road for two years as the touring rhythm section for various artists, bassist Derek Nievergelt and drummer Adrian Harpham spent endless hours on buses and planes philosophizing about the ideal record. They talked about David Axelrod, Quincy Jones, and the Beastie Boys. They talked about Led Zeppelin, P-Funk, and Paul McCartney. They talked about soundtracks to 60s sci-fi, 70s soft porn, and 80s cop shows. Already transitioning from life as a gig monster to producing and writing, Nievergelt realized he had a mission: to turn this philosophizing into reality.

The Jewels is the culmination of that mission.

Most of the tracks took shape based on a story or sketch. They weren’t really songs until they suddenly were. The premise of one? “Lost in the woods in nice shoes.” The core trio of Nievergelt, Harpham, and guitarist Al Street hashed out the ideas on a first take, and then the second take was it. They didn’t do third takes. But it’s not just the bass-drums-guitar trio that makes the The Jewels sound like a lost gem uncovered in a flea market at the edge of the world. Sure, there’s buzzing amps and plenty of tape hiss, but there’s also the shimmer of a Wurlitzer organ, live string and horn parts, modular synth, even a waterphone and a marxophone.

Whatever it takes.

That was the operating principle.

With its laidback openness, its refusal to be defined, and its dirt, The Jewels is the perfect soundtrack for all your quirks, whatever they may be.